Personnel: Robert Johnson (vocals, guitar); Robert Johnson (vocals, guitar, bass instrument, drum); Dave Cochran (vocals, bass instrument, drums); Blair Cunningham (vocals, drums, drum); Bill Rennie (bass instrument); Barry Johnson, Walter Polk, Willie Hall, Chad Cromwell (drum); Hot Buttered Soul (background vocals).
Liner Note Author: Joe Geesin.
Timing is everything, but it wasn't Robert Johnson's best friend. Sweeping out of the Rolling Stones' shopping list when they were searching for Mick Taylor's replacement, Johnson (whose very name should have landed him the job) was one of the hottest rock & roll guitarists of the mid-'70s, bluesy and bruising, street smart and sharp, and a gritty songwriter, too. But one glance at his debut album and you have him pegged for another new waver, just one more in that long line of quirky power poppers who emerged from the post-Costello '70s and were soundly dismissed on the spot. Which leaves Close Personal Friend in that awkward space somewhere between the classic it is and the bargain-bin regular it became. Too soulful for the skinny-tie brigade but too confusing for everyone who should have loved it, Close Personal Friend features ten stunning rockers that dance on the brittlest edge of American roots, and if any album of that era demands rediscovery, this is it. ~ Dave Thompson